Trendy vicars show off their stylish clerical clothes

A vicar who grew bored of wearing ‘dreary’ black robes has revealed how she decided to give clerical clothes for women a makeover – and now offers fashionable attire that includes sequins, lace and satin.

Rev Sandra Sykes, 69, who started the brand Collared Clergywear in 2015 with her daughter Sarah, 48, from their homes in Chelmsford, Essex, has seen the small company thrive, with orders coming in from as far away as the US. 

Radio 2 star Rev Kate Bottley is a fan of the mother-daughter duo’s designs and regularly shares photos of herself wearing the brand. 

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Clerical chic! The humble dog collar is enjoying a makeover thanks to Rev Sandra Sykes, 69, and her daughter Sarah, 48, who design and cell more fashionable clerical attire for women

Clerical chic! The humble dog collar is enjoying a makeover thanks to Rev Sandra Sykes, 69, and her daughter Sarah, 48, who design and cell more fashionable clerical attire for women

Radio 2 star Rev Kate Bottley is a fan Rev Sykes' brand, posting images of herself in the more colourful dresses on offer

Radio 2 star Rev Kate Bottley is a fan Rev Sykes’ brand, posting images of herself in the more colourful dresses on offer

Rev Sykes, who was ordained at the age of 62, pictured with her daughter Sarah, who co-runs the business said she was left 'angry' at the lack of variety when it came to clothes for female clergy

Rev Sykes, who was ordained at the age of 62, pictured with her daughter Sarah, who co-runs the business said she was left ‘angry’ at the lack of variety when it came to clothes for female clergy

Rev Sykes, who was ordained at the age of 62, says she grew ‘angry’ at the ‘dreary’ clothes on offer to women of the cloth and decided to take positive action.

She told FEMAIL: ‘When I was ordained I was dismayed, even angry, at the dreary clothes on offer. It was mostly badly adapted from menswear – as if women were an afterthought not partners with male clergy. So we set about to shake things up a bit.’

The company had its first day of sales in 2016, exhibiting at the Christian Resources Exhibition at London’s Excel, and Rev Sykes says she hasn’t looked back since. 

She explains: ‘Collared was born and clergywomen were delighted. Times have changed and we understand what it’s like being a clergy woman today. Each woman’s ministry is as diverse and unique as she is.  

Styles include lace, sequins and bold patterns and even a maternity range - with lines including Angel and Bless your heart

Styles include lace, sequins and bold patterns and even a maternity range – with lines including Angel and Bless your heart

Skater dresses, with additional frills, are among the brand's best-sellers

Skater dresses, with additional frills, are among the brand’s best-sellers

Sing a rainbow: A Pride top sees the dog collar sit alongside rainbow stripes

Alongside rainbows, there's houndstooth and bold patterns among the collections

Sing a rainbow: A Pride top sees the dog collar sit alongside rainbow stripes

Show me the sequins! A sequinned Kate clerical dress currently retails at £125

Show me the sequins! A sequinned Kate clerical dress currently retails at £125

Rev Sykes says the clothes ‘break the stuffy stereotypical image of clergy’ and understand that female clergy are ‘a priest yet still a woman’. 

She adds: ‘We love to design clothes women can’t wait to put on; clothes that allow them to express who they are with style, choice, practicality yet with a bit of added zing.’  

The brand offers everything from its Essential Range to lines called Angel and Bless your heart, with maternity clothes and a bespoke service also available. 

A sequinned robe dress called Kate currently costs £125, while a fitted tunic dress from the essentials range retails at £71.  

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